I was cruising around the FAO Schwartz web site last night hoping to preclude actually going into their mayhem of a store when we’re in New York in two weeks when I found this: a five-foot tall polar bear reared up on its back legs.
I’m sorry, but what parent in his right mind is going to get his kid, presumably a small kid, something this large and terrifying? Actually, not even: what person is going to get something this intimidating to live in his home? You don’t have to watch Colbert to know that bears are a threat. And from what I hear, polar bears are especially unpredictable and mean. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be – extreme cold makes me crabby and I don’t usually have to hunt my own lunch further than the ski lodge french fry line in those conditions. Yes, their little cubs are adorable, but I’m just saying, I wouldn’t invite one into my home, even if it is fake and frozen in position.
When I was eight and went to swim in my grandmother’s swimming pool, I was convinced there was a shark in there. I couldn’t see it, but that was because it had seen me and swum down to the other end of the pool, camouflaging itself in the refracted light. Maybe I was wrong, but who’s going to take that chance? Just because no one had lost a limb yet didn’t mean it wasn’t there. It was like Bush’s WMD. Or that joke about elephants painting their toenails red so they can hide in cherry trees: the fact that you haven’t seen one just means it’s working.
My point is, how do you know it’s really a fake polar bear? And if you say you know because it’s smaller than real ones plus obviously made of synthetics, I would say, “Tell that to your brain’s fear center when you see if out of the corner of your eye on the way to the bathroom at 2AM.”
I know whereof I speak. A few years ago, in the middle of a margarita-soaked afternoon, I bought an almost-life-sized cardboard stand-up Aragorn. He hung out in our apartment just barely within my line of sight when I was lying in bed. I had to evict him a few months later because my nerves couldn’t take the strain of waking up to a short-ish, tunic-clad, long-haired intruder in the foyer.
(By the way, why are all these things almost life-sized and not actually life-sized? Aragorn and the bear are both just shy of real height. I say, as soon as you pass “half-sized” you may as well go for the full monty. Really, what is up with shaving off 6-12 inches? That just makes them look short, not “not real.”)
My point is this: the world is intimidating enough when you’re knee-cap height on the rest of the household and dependent on others to provide your Cheerios. You don’t need a giant bear in the corner to keep you in your place. That’s all I’m saying. Shout out to the little people.